"I need to throw my hooks back out there, Red. I need to start making connections like I had in Godfall." He was leaning forward now, infectious energy lacing his voice. This was where Isaac was most comfortable, forming plans and plots and schemes with a pipe in his mouth. The smoke was sweet and burned his throat in just the way he liked, exhaling through his nose like a scrawny, gray-haired dragon.
Florence snort-laughed and shook her head, "Grey, you make yourself sound like a crime lord! You help your family run a newspaper!"
He snapped his fingers like 'exactly!' and carried on, "Which is why I know how important a web of connections is for our future! I've been working at the Gazette ever since I could deliver ink to the machines, Red. I've been reporting since I was sixteen, and half of what I got, I got from saying the right names to the right people."
"And what about your classes? What are you even going to study?" Florence had placed her book in her lap, page marked with a dried chrysanthemum. Her lips were pursed and her brow furrowed.
Isaac raised his hands in supplication, "I'll figure out my education as I go, alright? Look, my point is that I'm ready to spin my own web of beneficial people to know here in Magoviste. And I think I will start with joining a student business. Coffee shop or a newspaper, what do you think?"
Florence looked at him from over her spectacles before she crossed one leg over the other and asked, "And why a student business? Why not get a job at a normal location around town?"
"Because Red, the students themselves will be the ones on the web, and who knows who they'll grow up to be?" Isaac listed off with his fingers. "These are the great young minds of our generation. Field Marshals? Bankers? Lawyers? Doctors? Alchemists?" He looked at her with a grin.
"Point taken. I would recommend a coffee shop that also sells a local student newspaper or has a weekly club of some kind. You can write something anonymous in the paper if you want, get people talking." She let out a breath and once again shook her head. "Grey, what exactly are you trying to do here? That's all I want to know from you right now."
Isaac looked out of the window and into the burgeoning downtown of Magovsite. Gray stone buildings from a different age next to brand new architecture. Statues of Erathis are placed anywhere a statue could fit, standing out like ugly stone sores. Lawbringers in their tall hats and long coats patrol every street, cigarettes a sea of stabbing red beacons through the sleety weather. Magos and Imperials taking painful steps to limit their interaction with each other. He saw the invisible forces dividing them all from each other. And he knew just the shears to cut them with. Not now, not for a long time. But he saw the seeds. Now he just had to plant them.
He turned his gaze back to Florence and said, "If I'm going to plant the seeds I need to plant, I'll probably have to step on some toes. Maybe hard. Will you help me?" He reached out a hand.
Those amber eyes peered back from behind a layer of glass, and she said, "I won't help you step on anyone's toes, Grey." She took his hand. "But I will help stop anyone realizing it was you who stepped on toes. Understand me?"
They shook hands. Isaac offered her the pipe.
Florence shook her head, “One of us needs a clear head about us, Grey.”
“It helps me think, so my head’s probably more clear than yours, Red.”
“Well, we’ll just tell that to the Lawbringers when they catch a whiff of that awful stench.”
“Easy, I’ll just tell them it’s you.”
He laughed as she smacked him in the knee with her book.